Buccaneers Land 21-Sack Record Holder Amid Roster Moves: Report

Todd Bowles

Getty The Buccaneers are signing undrafted free agent outside linebacker Markees Watts.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are signing a notable pass-rushing specialist.

While filling out the final spots of their 90-man roster heading into offseason team activities, the Buccaneers are signing outside linebacker Markees Watts, according to Fox Sports’ Greg Auman. Watts is notable for racking up 21.5 sacks during his collegiate career at Charlotte, a record at the school.

“We have the first tryout player from Bucs rookie minicamp signed to a free-agent contract: It’s OLB Markees Watts from Charlotte,” writes Auman. “Had 21.5 sacks among 177 tackles in college — 6 feet, 234 pounds.”

Markees Watts Could Emerge as Sack Specialist for Bucs

The 6-foot, 234-pound linebacker is the 89th player on the Buccaneers’ roster. As noted by River Wells of Bucs Wire, Watts’ best season came in 2019 when he racked up 9.5 sacks. Over the course of his five-year collegiate career, he also holds the school record for most games played (54).

“Watts’ best season at Charlotte came in 2019, when he netted 9.5 sacks,” writes Wells. “He’s had 21.5 sacks across his whole five-year career as a Charlotte 49er, which makes him Charlotte’s all-time sack leader. He also holds the team record for most games played with the program at 54 and he was an honorable mention for All-Conference USA in 2019, 2021 and 2022.”

As Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network notes in his scouting report of Watts, the Charlotte alum specializes out of the three-point stance and is “explosive.”

“Fluid, smooth defender who primarily came out of a three-point stance for Charlotte,” writes Pauline. “Athletic, easily moves about the field, and plays with balance. Quickly gets down the line of scrimmage to pursue the action and is rarely off his feet. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Explosive and plays with balance as well as body control.”

However, Pauline also notes Watts’ weaknesses, which include being controlled by a “single blocker.”

“Controlled at the point by a single blocker,” writes Pauline. “Not much of an edge rusher out of a three-point stance. Primarily used up the field.”

While Tampa Bay’s starting linebacker spots are essentially locked in by established players such as Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Devin White, the backup spots are up for grabs. While four-year veteran Anthony Nelson returns as the top backup linebacker, the other names on the roster — Cam Gill, Jose Ramirez and K.J. Britt — are far from locks for the 53-man roster.

With the Buccaneers lacking in a bonafide sack specialist — their leading sack man was defensive tackle Vita Vea with 6.5 sacks last season — Watts has a legitimate chance of carving out a role on Tampa Bay’s reloaded roster for the 2023 season.

Buccaneers Sign Veteran WR David Moore

The Buccaneers’ final roster spot is going to veteran wide receiver David Moore. As reported by Auman, Tampa Bay is signing the former Seattle Seahawks playmaker after a veteran tryout during rookie minicamp.

“Bucs are signing former Seahawks receiver David Moore to their roster after a veteran tryout this weekend at rookie minicamp,” writes Auman. “Worked with Dave Canales and Brad Idzik in Seattle, now will compete for a backup receiver job in Tampa.”

Moore is best known for his tenure with the Seahawks, playing in Seattle between 2017 and 2020. Between 2018 and 2020, Moore caught 78 passes for 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns. In fact, he served as Seattle’s No. 3 receiver at times behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

The 28-year-old will look to revive his career after spending last season out of football and appearing in only three games during the 2021 season following his departure from the Seahawks.

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